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“Not as Fortunate in Other Parts of the World.” Through Collaboration, UMFS Youth Counselor Brings Clean Water to Native Liberia

Georgia Thompson-Bates is an overnight youth counselor at the UMFS Child & Family Healing Center in Richmond. A native of West Africa, Georgia recently traveled to her hometown in Liberia to install a hand pump to bring clean water to families there. The project was funded by money raised by staff and students at UMFS.   

In the midst of extreme destruction of human lives and properties in my home country Liberia, as a result of the civil war which started in December, 1989, I relocated to the United States of America in 1998. It was like a dream as I disembarked the flight. While I have since tried to understand God’s goodness for saving my life, a part of me still remembered the horrifying scenes of the war and especially how sufferings in that part of the world seems irreversible even to today. It ranges from lack of transparent leadership of governance, poor social infrastructures, and a struggling economy.

Liberia is a tiny country found in West Africa of less than 5 million inhabitants. Founded in the 1800 by free slaves from the United States of America. In 1989 a Civil war started and since then, the country has never been totally peaceful nor can all of Liberia boast of joy. The system of electricity and a viable water system has yet to be fully restored in urban and rural Liberia. Unfortunately, some residents still drink from creeks and stream sadly.

I returned to work at United Methodist Family Service (UMFS) with the need to erect a hand pump for the children of Liberia weighing on my mind. I decided to share the need with Administrative Services Manager Sara Barrille. Without hesitation Sara give me her full support by helping with a fundraiser.

We decided to use this as a means to educate the children at UMFS and staff about the importance of safe drinking water. I shared with them how fortunate we are to have running water in our homes by turning on the faucet. Some people are not as fortunate in other parts of the world. Children and families have to walk distances every day to get water to drink, bathe, cook and do laundry. Also water taken from the creeks and stream were making people sick. After hearing this, the youth at UMFS were moved and wanted to know how they could help. They decided to collect cans to recycle, made craft in arts class for sale, baked in culinary class for sale, collected pennies and quarters in an effort to raise money to help me erect a hand pump for an existing well I started years ago in a village in Liberia. Whatever amount the children were able to raise was matched by contributions from staff.

In Hebrews 13:16 it reads, “Do not neglect to do good and to share with those in need, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.” At the result of the generous contributions of everyone the amount needed to erect the hand pump was raised. In December of 2019 I traveled to Liberia and the hand pump was erected to this well. What a joy it was seeing the smiles on the faces of the children and people over their new hand pump. Those living nearby the Well will benefit greatly from having this hand pump. They will now have safe drinking water and don’t have to walk long distances to get water to do chores, bathe before going to school and many other things.

On behalf of the children and people of Kpan’s Town, Magibi, Liberia, I would like to express my sincere thanks and appreciations to the children and staff at United Methodist Family Services for your generous support and contributions in making this a success. God Bless, as I am very humbled.

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